Lydia Anne McCarthy 

Untitled, Still Life 


About the artist

Whether in portrait, landscape or still life, Lydia McCarthy, an American who lives and works in Sweden, explores the full potential of photography to challenge and subvert our perceptions of reality. What other medium than photography can combine both “magic and science” to such an extent? With McCarthy, artistic exploration borders on the mystical. With a film camera as her only tool, she examines the mechanics of the instrument and power of light, thus infusing her images with a form of infra-reality: the latent mystery of our lives, cloaked by habit.


These two pictures are part of a series called Still Life. What is the common thread linking these photographs?
The series began as a reaction to another series of work I was making at the time, Refraction. The Refraction series is made with a camera that I reconstructed, using a magnifying sheet as the lens. Still Life was a way for me to reveal the process of how I initially arrived at the idea for the camera. I had been conducting experiments with lenses, prisms, mirrors and other optical devices. The work ended up being a documentation of me playing in my backyard, creating illusions of space and inserting my presence into the frame, sometimes subtly, sometimes obviously.

In these series and in your latest work, you make use of mirrors, reflection and diffraction, duplicating the frame and creating confusion in the two-dimensional space of the photograph. Can you tell us more specifically about the picture selected here?
I was using mirrors as a way to manipulate the space so that it wasn't completely clear what was happening, or how they were being used. In all of my work, I experiment with perception and try to show the world in a way only possible with the camera. In this image, the mirror becomes camouflaged with the grass surrounding it. I cropped the image and made everything very sharp so that there were no clues that would immediately let the viewer know what was happening. Then I used a prism to create a rainbow stripe outside of the frame so that it would be reflected in the mirror, alluding to the space beyond.

The bananas picture looks very much like a typical “product shot”: a well-lit image, revealing every minute detail of the object, except that what is shown here is not the object’s perfection, but its life at work.
With all of this work, I wanted to reference product images-I used 4x5 slide film in order to make them very saturated and sharp. I wanted it to be the opposite of the Refraction series, which was difficult to control and blurry. The bananas picture, particularly, happened by chance. I was running around my apartment trying to find fruit and vegetables to photograph and pulled out some old bananas from the freezer. They were out in the sun as I worked on other images, and when I looked at them again they had this beautiful white frost all over them. The ambiguity of what had happened to them and the way I photographed them make the bananas sort of grotesque and desirable at the same time.

Limited edition, numbered and signed. 

Selected shows and awards

Artificial Paradises, Frantispiece Hudson, Coxsackie, NY, 2015
I will be the void,
Twin Kittens Gallery, Atlanta, GA, 2014
Lydia Anne McCarthy Laatikkomo
, Jyvaskyla, Finland, 2013
Black Mountain, Biggin Gallery, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, 2013
In a Northern Country Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Umea, Sweden, 2012
Svensk Still Life (billboards), North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC, 2012
Refraction, Daniel Cooney Fine Art: New York, 2011

American-Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship: Umea, Sweden 2011
Shadows and Reflections, ACRE Gallery: Chicago, 2011
PDN’s 30, Nominee 2011
Hey, Hot Shot!, Honorable Mention 2011
New Artists, Winter 2011 Culture Hall: 2011
Conscientious Portfolio Prize 2011

Selected publications

After Murakami, Photo Booth, The New Yorker, 2011
24 Hour Portfolio, Dossier, Issue #8, 2011
Frames From Fiction: Beached, Photo Booth, The New Yorker, 2011
Flash Forward, Magenta Foundation, 2010
Bruit de fond, JSBJ, 2010
A Conversation with CPC Winner Lydia Anne McCarthy, Conscientious, 2010
Snow Blind, Landscape Stories, Issue #2, 2010


& order

Lydia Anne McCarthy 
Untitled, Still Life


Technical information

Pigment print on Hahnemühle FineArt Baryta paper - limited edition, numbered and signed certificate.


30 x 37,5 cm, Edition of 100 180.00 €

By the same artist

Lydia Anne McCarthy

By the same curator